Red lanterns cast a warm glow over burnished wood floors inside Village Gourmet China Bistro & Sushi, and hand-painted murals of blooming flowers and scenic mountains adorn the walls. In the kitchen, chefs pan-sear duck pot stickers, sizzle sesame chicken in woks, and steam filets of chilean sea bass. Diners can also take a seat at a cherry-red sushi bar to watch chefs craft specialty sushi rolls like the heart-shaped, tuna-wrapped Valentine roll with avocado and crisp apple.
At Chili Chicken Indian Twist, palates on a mission to explore eastern cuisines can traverse the esculent gamut of both Indian and Chinese cuisine on the extensive menu. Warm body interiors with a bowl of sweet-corn soup ($3) or lightly breaded hot and crispy shrimp with a sweet chili sauce ($7), or sate subcontinent-shaped stomachs with Indian treats such as samosas ($5), lamb tikka masala ($13), or vegetable clay-pot curry for a traditional taste of vibrant, aromatic spices ($9). Alternatively, those with stomachs hankering to venture north of the Himalayas can try double-fried tofu in a mild chili-ginger sauce ($9) or bombay szechwan fried rice with shrimp ($10). Chili Chicken Indian Twist also offers a list of domestic and imported beer ($5–$8), as well as house wines by the glass ($6.50), ideal for swigging before partaking in blindfolded slam-dunk contests.
In 1979, Sam Chan arrived in New York City from his native Hong Kong. He quickly set to work moving up the ranks of the restaurant industry chain—from dishwasher to prep cook to chef maitre'd and finally to owner of his own establishment, Sichuan Pavillion. Chan poured his heart and soul into his restaurant, painstakingly developing a menu of freshly made authentic cuisine from all the distinct regions of the China. In time, Sam's son Ricky joined his father to help run the business, drawing on years working there to help create a new menu as an ode to Chinese-American culture and cuisine.
The restaurant’s seasonal tasting menus feature morsels of exotic treats such as marinated jellyfish or fivespice-salted Peking chicken. Made-to-order dishes include steamed pork dumplings and slow-simmered spicy Sichuan tofu. In addition to whipping up traditional delicacies, the restaurant's chefs also show off their skills with plates of Americanized Chinese fare enlivened by unexpected touches, such as General Chan's chicken made with succulent dark meat or surf and turf of filet mignon and sea scallops stir fried in a zesty black pepper sauce.
Yellow lanterns sway above a burbling indoor waterfall, whose murmurs mask the sound of keen knives slicing through flanks of fish behind Water Moon’s sushi bar. Inside the bustling kitchen, pinches of spices culled from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai culinary traditions grace dumplings and spring rolls as thick or glassy noodles entwine with vegetables, duck, seafood, or pork beneath a sprig of leafy herbs. Above the dining room’s black lacquered chairs and curved, orange banquette seating, wallpaper inspired by antique scrolls teems with classical characters and the definitive lyrics to “Louie Louie.”
The epicurean experts at The New Jade Palace twirl noodles, pyramid rice, and simmer seafood to construct a menu replete with traditional Asian favorites. Spoons dip into roast-pork wonton soup ($2 for a small, $3.50 for a large) to warm up for the tang of thai red snapper ($16) that, like the charge of an incompetent pet groomer, bathes in sweet chili sauce. Noodles knot around each other to hold beef or shrimp hostage ($5 for a small, $9 for a large), and the crispy skin of peking duck ($30) crackles inside a wrapping of scallion pancakes. The sushi bar encourages patrons to savor combinations of spicy maki ($14) or dive chopsticks-first into 12-piece tricolor sushi plates of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail ($20). Vegetarian taste buds linger on eggplant lathered in garlic sauce ($8) long enough to be accused of loitering.
Lauded in the New York Times for its "clean and delicate" flavors, Peking Duck House's menu earned the restaurant a coveted spot on the list of the 100 best Chinese restaurants in the country. The kitchen's Cantonese-style dishes come courtesy of Chef and owner Harry Wu, who––according to Times reporter Stephanie Lyness––often appears tableside to serve his signature Peking-duck dish. The namesake feast––available as a whole or half duck––arrives in two distinct courses, opening with crispy, grilled slices of duck, waiting to be snuggly wrapped up in homemade crepes, sprinkled with scallions, and drizzled with a special sauce. Then, colorful slivers of seasonal veggies are sautéed with more tender morsels of meat, and paired with a side of rice, which may be eaten or thrown at nearby newlyweds.
Other Cantonese favorites include classics such as kung-pao chicken and pan-fried dumplings as well as house specialties such as clams in a spicy black-bean sauce. Spicier dishes are noted with a tiny chile-pepper icon to warm sensitive taste buds or hungry snowmen, while five steamed entrees are prepared sans salt, oil, or cornstarch to cater to the calorie-conscious.